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Being a Preachment 

Elbert Hubbard 

Done into a printed book by 

The Roycrofters at their Shop, which is in 

East Aurora, Erie County, 

New York. 

Copyright 1914 
BY Elbert Hubbard 



If you work for a man, in Heaven's name 
work for him. If he pays wages that sup- 
ply you your bread and butter, work for 
him, speak well of him, think well of him, 
and stand by him, and stand by the insti- 
tution he represents. I think if I worked 
for a man, I would work for him. I would 
not work for him a part of his time, but all 
of his time. I would give an undivided 
service or none^ If put to a pinch, an 
ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of 
cleverness. If you must vilify, condemn, 
and eternally disparage, why, resign 
your position, and when you are outside, 
damn to your heart's content. But, I 
pray you, so long as you are a part of 
an institution, do not condemn it. Not 
that you will injure the institution — not 
that — but when you disparage the con- 
cern of which you are a part, you dis- 
parage yourself &^ And don't forget — 
" I forgot " wont do in business &^ s^ 

HIS literary 
trifle "A Mes- 
was written one ^^y 
evening after 

supper, in a 
single hour 33 It was on the 
Twenty-second of February, 
EighteenHundred Ninety-nine, 
Washington's Birthday, and 
we were just going to press 
with the March '' PhiHstine/' 
The thing leaped hot from my 
heart, written after a trying 
day, when I had been endeavor- 
ing to train some rather delin- 

quent villagers to abjure the 
comatose state and get radio- 
active 52 
The real The immediate suggestion, 

hero of though, came from a little ar- 
the war i i 

gument over the teacups, when 

my boy Bert suggested that 

Rowan was the real hero of the 

Cuban War. Rowan had gone 

alone and done the thing — 

carried the message to Garcia. 

fit came to me like a flash ! Yes, 

the boy is right, the hero is the 

man who does his work — who 

carries the message to Garcia. 

I got up from the table, and 

wrote ''A Message to Garcia." 

I thought so Httle of it that we 

ran it in the Magazine without 

a heading. The edition went 

out, and soon orders began to 

come for extra copies of the 

March '' Philistine," a dozen, 

fifty, a hundred; and when the 

American News Company 

ordered a thousand, I asked 

one of my helpers which article iJ^,^,i„^ 

it was that had stirred up the demand 

cosmic dust. 

" It 's the stuff about Garcia," 

he said. 

The next day a telegram came 

from George H. Daniels, of the 

G^or^^//. New York Central Railroad, 
Daniels ,i <</->• • i 

thus: Give price on one hun- 
dred thousand Rowan article 
in pamphlet form — Empire 
State Express advertisement on 
back — also how soon can ship." 
^ I replied giving price, and 
stated we could supply the 
pamphlets in two years. Our 
facilities were small and a hun- 
dred thousand booklets looked 
like an awful undertaking 53 
The result was that I gave Mr. 
Daniels, permission to reprint 
the article in his own way. 


He issued it in booklet form 
in editions of half a million. 
Two or three of these half-mil- 
lion lots were sent out by Mr. 
Daniels, and in addition the 
article was reprinted in over two 
hundred magazines and news- 
papers. It has been translated 
into all written languages 58 
At the time Mr. Daniels was 
distributing the '' Message to p^^y^ce 
Garcia," Prince Hilakoff, Hilakof 
Director of Russian Railways, 
was in this country. He was 
the guest of the New York 
Central, and made a tour of 



the country under the personal 
direction of Mr. Daniels. The 
Prince saw the little book and 
was interested in it, more be- 
y^^ cause Mr. Daniels was putting 
Russian it out in such big numbers, 
^^^^^^itl probably, than otherwise. 

In any event, when he got home 
he had the matter translated 
into Russian, and a copy of the 
booklet given to every railroad 
employee in Russia 53 
Other countries then took it 
up, and from Russia it passed 
into Germany, France, Spain, 
Turkey, Hindustan and China. 


During the war between Russia 
and Japan, every Russian sol- 
dier who went to the front was 
given a copy of the ^' Message 
to Garcia/' 53 

The Japanese, finding the book- 
lets in possession of the Rus- 
sian prisoners, concluded that The war 

ifi the 

it must be a good thing, and ^^^^ 
accordingly translated it into 
Japanese 53 

And on an order of the Mikado 
a copy was given to every man 
in the employ of the Japanese 
Government, soldier or civilian. 
Over forty million copies of 


^'A Message to Garcia '' have 
been printed. 

This is said to be a larger cir- 
culation than any other literary 
venture has ever attained dur- 

Its great i^g the lifetime of the author, in 
Circulation n i • ^ ^i i ^ 

all history — thanks to a series 

of lucky accidents! — E. H. 




As the cold of snow in the time of har- 
vest, so is a faithful messenger to them 
that send him: for he refresheth the 
soul of his masters. — Proverbs xxvr 13. 

Nail this Cuban 
business there 
is one man 
stands out on 
the horizon of 
my memory 
like Mars at perihelion. 
When war broke out between T^he 
Spain and the United States, f J^j^^^f 
it was very necessary to com- man 
municate quickly with the 
leader of the Insurgents. Gar- 
cia was somewhere in the moun- 
tain fastnesses of Cuba — no 
one knew where. No mail or 

telegraph message could reach 


him. The President must secure 
his co-operation, and quickly. 
What to do! 33 

Some one said to the Presi- 

And dent, '' There is a fellow by the 

found name of Rowan will find Garcia 


for you, if anybody can." 
Rowan was sent for and was 
given a letter to be delivered 
to Garcia. How '' the fellow by 
the name of Rowan '' took the 
letter, sealed it up in an oilskin 
pouch, strapped it over his 
heart, in four days landed by 
night off the coast of Cuba from 
an open boat, disappeared into 


the jungle, and in three weeks 
came out on the other side of 
the Island, having traversed a 
hostile country on foot, and 
delivered his letter to Garcia — 
are things I have no special 
desire now to tell in detail. 
The point that I wish to make 
is this: McKinley gave Rowan 
a letter to be delivered to Gar- 
cia; Rowan took the letter and 
did not ask," Where is he at? " ^^/f ^- 
By the Eternal ! there is a man message 
whose form should be cast in 
deathless bronze and the statue 

placed in every college of the 


land. It is not book-learning 
young men need, nor instruc- 
tion about this and that, but 
a stiffening of the vertebrae 
which will cause them to be 
loyal to a trust, to act prompt- 
ly, concentrate their energies: 
do the thing — '' Carry a mes- 
sage to Garcia/' 
General Garcia is dead now, 
but there are other Garcias. 

The ^ ^Q Ymxi who has endeav- 
Moral 1 , , , . 

ored to carry out an enterprise 

where many hands were needed, 

but has been well-nigh appalled 

at times by the imbecility of 


the average man — the inability 
or unwillingness to concentrate 
on a thing and do it. 
Slipshod assistance, foolish in- 
attention, dowdy indifference, There are 
and half-hearted work seem the <^ther 
rule; and no man succeeds, un- ^^^^^^ 
less by hook or crook or threat 
he forces or bribes other men 
to assist him; or mayhap, God 
in His goodness performs a 
miracle, and sends him an 
Angel of Light for an assistant. 
You, reader, put this matter 
to a test: You are sitting now 
in your office — six clerks are 

within call. Summon any one 
and make this request: '' Please 
look in the encyclopedia and 
make a brief memorandum for 
me concerning the life of Cor- 
reggio." .^ 

Will the clerk quietly say, '^ Yes 
sir/' and go do the task? 5S 
On your life he will not. He 
will look at you out of a fishy 
eye and ask one or more of the 

Which following questions: 

pedia^ Who was he? 

Which encyclopedia? 
Where is the encyclopedia? 
Was I hired for that? 


Don't you mean Bismarck? 
What 's the matter with Char- 
liedoingit? ^^^^,^^^^ 

Is he dead.'' matter 

Is there any hurry? with 

Shall I bring you the book and ^^f^%^ 
let you look it up yourself? 
What do you want to know 
for? 53 

And I will lay you ten to one 
that after you have answered 
the questions, and explained 
how to find the information, 
and why you want it, the clerk 
will go off and get one of the 
other clerks to help him try to 


find Garcia — and then come 

back and tell you there is no 
/ was n t 1 r\t t 

hired for ®^^" ^^^' ^* course I may 
that lose my bet, but according to 
anyway the Law of Average I will not. 
^ Now, if you are wise, you will 
not bother to explain to your 
" assistant " that Correggio is 
indexed under the C's, not in 
the K's, but you will smile 
very sweetly and say, " Never 
mind, ' ' and go look it up your- 
self 33 

And this incapacity for inde- 
pendent action, this moral 

stupidity, this infirmity of the 

24 p 

will, this unwillingness to cheer- 
fully catch hold and lift — these 
are the things that put pure 
Socialism so far into the future. 
If men will not act for them- 
selves, what will they do when 
the benefit of their effort is for rrettinz 
all? A first mate with knotted 'Hhe 
club seems necessary; and the ^^^^^^ ' 
dread of getting '* the bounce '' 
Saturday night holds many a 
worker to his place. 
Advertise for a stenographer, 
and nine out of ten who apply 
can neither spell nor punctuate 

— and do not think it necessary 


to. ^ Can such a one write a 
letter to Garcia? 
'' You see that bookkeeper," 
said a foreman to me in a 
large factory. 
'* Yes; what about him? '' 
*^ Well, he 's a fine accountant, 
JVho but if I 'd send him up-town 
wants a on an errand, he might accom- 

^""^Ms? P^^^^ ^^^ errand all right, and 
on the other hand, might stop 
at four saloons on the way, 
and when he got to Main Street 
would forget what he had been 
sent for.'' 

Can such a man be entrusted 


to carry a message to Garcia? 
^ We have recently been hear- 
ing much maudhn sympathy 
expressed for the '' downtrod- 
den denizens of the sweat-shop'' 
and the *' homeless wanderer 
searching for honest employ- 
ment/' and with it all often 
go many hard words for the 
men in power. 

Nothing is said about the em- 
ployer who grows old before 
his time in a vain attempt to 
get frowsy ne'er-do-wells to do 
intelligent work; and his long, 

patient striving with '' help " 


that does nothing but loaf 
when his back is turned. In 
every store and factory there 
is a constant weeding-out pro- 
The weed- cess going on. The employer 
^proce^ss ^^ continually sending away 
** help " that have shown their 
incapacity to further the inter- 
ests of the business, and others 
are being taken on. 
No matter how good times are, 
this sorting continues: only if 
times are hard and work is 
scarce, the sorting is done finer 
— but out and forever out the 

incompetent and unworthy go. 


It is the survival of the fittest. 
Self-interest prompts every em- 
ployer to keep the best — those 
who can carry a message to 
Garcia .,^t 

I know one man of really bril- 
liant parts who has not the This man 

ability to manage a business ^^y^ ^^^^^ 
- . . 7 - . are scarce 

of his own, and yet who is 

absolutely worthless to any one 
else, because he carries with 
him constantly the insane sus- 
picion that his employer is op- 
pressing, or intending to op- 
press, him. He can not give 

orders; and he will not receive 


them 53 Should a message be 
given him to take to Garcia, 
his answer would probably be, 
''Take it yourself!" 
Tonight this man ' walks the 
streets looking for work, the 
wind whistling through his 
threadbare coat. No one who 
knows him dare employ him, 
for he is a regular firebrand 
of discontent. He is impervious 
to reason, and the only thing 
that can impress him is the toe 
of a thick-soled Number Nine 
boot 53 

Of course I know that one so 

morally deformed is no less to 

to be pitied than a physical 

cripple; but in our pitying let 

us drop a tear, too, for the men ^ . . , 
^ . ; spiritual 

who are strivmg to carry on a cripple 

great enterprise, whose work- 
ing hours are not limited by 
the whistle, and whose hair is 
fast turning white through the 
struggle to hold in line dowdy 
indifference, slipshod imbecil- 
ity, and the heartless ingrati- 
tude which, but for their enter- 
prise, would be both hungry 
and homeless. 

Have I put the matter too 


strongly? Possibly I have; but 

when all the world has gone 

a-slumming I wish to speak a 

A word of word of sympathy for the man 

sympathy who succeeds — the man who, 

jor the against great odds, has directed 

man who 

succeeds the efforts of others, and hav- 
ing succeeded, finds there 's 
nothing in it: nothing but bare 
board and clothes. I have car- 
ried a dinner-pail and worked 
for day's wages, and I have 
also been an employer of labor, 
and I know there is something 
to be said on both sides. There 

is no excellence, per se, in pov- 


erty; rags are no recommenda- 
tion; and all employers are not f,^f,,^'^^^ 
rapacious and high-handed, a recom- 
any more than all poor men mendation 
are virtuous. 

My heart goes out to the man 
who does his work when the 
^' boss " is away, as well as 
when he is at home. And the 
man who, when given a letter 
for Garcia, quietly takes the 
missive, without asking any 
idiotic questions, and with no 
lurking intention of chucking 
it into the nearest sewer, or of 
doing aught else but deliver it, 

never gets '' laid off," nor has 

Good men ^ go on a strike for higher 

are always wages. CiviUzation is one long 

needed 3^nxious search for just such 

individuals. Anything such a 

man asks shall be granted. His 

kind is so rare that no employer 

can afford to let him go. He is 

wanted in every city, town and 

village — in every office, shop, 

store and factory. 

Needed T\\^ world cries out for such: 

today and y^^ is needed, and needed 
badly badly — the man who can carry 




To act in absolute freedom and at the 
same time know that responsibility 
is the price of freedom is salvation. 


The supreme prayer of my heart is not 
to be learned or " good," but to be 
Radiant. If I desire to radiate health, 
cheerfulness, sincerity, calm coufage and 
good will. ^ I wish to be simple, honest, 
natural, frank, clean in mind and clean in 
body, unaffected — ready to say, " I do 
not know," if so it be, to meet all men 
on an absolute equality— to face any 
obstacle and meet every difficulty unafraid 
and unabashed. ^ I wish others to live 
their lives, too, up to their highest, fullest 
and best. To that end I pray that I may 
never meddle, dictate, interfere, give ad- 
vice that is not wanted, nor assist when 
my services are not needed. If I can help 
people I '11 do it by giving them a chance 
to help themselves; and if I can uplift 
or inspire, let it be by example, inference 
and suggestion, rather than by injunction 
and dictation. That is to say, I desire 
to be Radiant — to Radiate Life &o^ &^ 

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